Postmaster of Yakima County’s smallest post office brings cheer to Brownstown

SteveBlog As postmaster of Yakima County’s smallest post office, Lorena Hartzog talks business much of the time, but her job also offers the chance to chat with customers about their favorite pastimes — and hers.

“I finally got an eagle shot,” Hartzog said of her photo showing the regal bird perched on a skeletal branch amid low brush. “People would come in and tell me where one was.”

Hartzog began taking photos soon after she started working at the Brownstown, Washington, post office in February 2008. The Canon EOS 40D was a present from husband Jim. Since then, she’s taken more than 135,000 photos, she estimates.

A couple hundred of her photos slowly scroll through a digital display frame on the retail counter where Hartzog leans forward to greet visitors. There’s a dish with a few pieces of candy and shipping boxes displayed with prices.

In late July 2011, the U.S. Postal Service announced it was considering closing the Brownstown post office among more than 30 others statewide. About 1,200 post offices nationwide faced possible closure as the Postal Service looked to stem losses totaling $8 billion in 2010.

After public outcry, the postal service backed down from closing the Brownstown office, compromising with reduced retail window hours to match customer use as part of a national strategy to keep its smallest post offices open and thus retain a crucial cornerstone of many rural communities.  Read more.

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